New Year. New You. New Fuel! {Product Review}

So…you might’ve noticed something different about the calendar by now.¬†Hint: the date no longer reads “2015.” (Of course, I can never get my years straight, so if you cashed a check from me recently, just scribble out that “15” part. Sorry, Mom.)

But enough about my haphazard record keeping skills. 2016 has officially taken up residence for the next 52 weeks, which — for most people — signals¬†that dreaded New Year’s Resolution season.

Based on The Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 66% of resolution makers center their goals around fitness and nutrition. However, 73% will soon fall victim to burnout.

The take-away? Don’t become another statistic.

Whether you’re¬†planning a dietary overhaul or just¬†curbing a junk food fetish,¬†Manitoba Harvest¬†has the ideal¬†snack time solution. Your¬†2016 self-improvement¬†list¬†never tasted more delectable.

Introducing (drumroll, please)…

manitoba harvest fueled by hemp

image courtesy of Manitoba Harvest

Fuel this year with the natural protein power of hemp, and healthy eating will become a no-brainer!

These conveniently portioned nibbles support your active lifestyle with nutritious fuel anytime of day. From a portable office snack to a workout energy boost to an after-dinner treat, hemp heart bars offer on-the-go versatility to balance out that busy schedule.

Behold, the health benefits of¬†each 45-gram serving…

The Breakdown:

10 grams Plant-Based Protein

10 grams Omega Fatty Acids

> 10 grams Sugar

Vegan & Non-GMO


The Flavor Profile:

chocolate hemp bar flavor

CHOCOLATE

240 Calories Per Bar — I’m generally not a proponent of calorie counting, but in case you wanna know,¬†there’s your answer.

Natural Ingredients — hemp hearts, organic brown rice syrup, organic coconut palm sugar, organic cocoa mass, organic dutch-process cocoa, organic chocolate flavor, pectin, organic sunflower oil, rosemary extract

My Verdict — All the buttery richness I expect¬†from a chocolate cravings crusher. No complaints from this choco-holic!

apple cinnamon hemp bar flavor

APPLE CINNAMON

230 Calories Per Bar — Blah, blah, blah. You’ve heard my calorie counting spiel, so I’ll leave this here for curiosity’s sake.

Natural Ingredients — ¬†hemp hearts, organic coconut palm sugar, dried apple, cinnamon, organic apple flavor, organic brown rice syrup, pectin, organic sunflower oil, organic caramel flavor, rosemary extract

My Verdict — I’m just not ready to kiss fall flavors goodbye,¬†and this delivers all the spicy seasonal warmth ¬†of a classic apple pie. Seconds, please!

vanilla hemp bar flavor

VANILLA

240 Calories Per Bar — Yeah…I’ll get off my soapbox now. It’s packed with nutrients, that’s all you gotta¬†know.

Natural Ingredients —¬†hemp hearts, organic coconut palm sugar, organic brown rice syrup, organic vanilla flavor, sea salt, pectin, organic sunflower oil, rosemary extract

My Verdict — Distinctly floral and aromatic with a hint of earthiness. The consummate sweet tooth satisfier, in my taste bud’s opinion!


 

Wanna try this deliciousness for free? Then, enter the “Fueled By Hemp” social media photo contest! Tag #sweatpink #hempheartbar #fueledbyhemp @manitobaharvest @fitapproach¬†for a chance to win your favorite flavor.¬†The posts¬†don’t need to include Manitoba Harvest products, but of course, it‚Äôs fabulous if they do!

Check out the full contest details here.¬†Open to U.S. and Canada residents. Or, if you need instant hemp gratification¬†(which…understandable!), order online using the discount code¬†hhbarlaunch1016¬†for 15% off your purchase¬†(Expires 3/31/2016).

manitoba harvest hemp heart bars

image courtesy of Manitoba Harvest

 

Meal Prep: Learn It, Love It, Live It

When you plan ahead and prepare meals in advance, it’s simple to formulate a diet around whole foods and balanced nutrition.

Rather than calling for take-out, throwing together whatever’s been taking up space in your pantry or – worse yet – stopping at the drive-through window, just set aside a couple hours each week to whip up some easy-to-store-enjoy-anytime recipes. Then, simply heat your creations in the microwave as needed throughout the coming days.

I’ve compiled a list of instructions, along with corresponding visuals, to walk you through the steps of proper meal prep. The recipe below is just one example of a make-ahead meal that’s convenient, satisfying, and completely guilt-free – whether on its own as a filling lunch or as a tasty side dish for dinner.

And here’s more fabulous news: all you need to pull this off are a few basic, fresh ingredients!


  • Step 1:¬†Chop your vegetables of choice (any veggies you have on-hand will work; I used onions, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, and corn).

food prep step 1

  • Step 2:¬†Transfer the vegetables into a Tupperware container and store in the fridge while you continue with the remaining prep work.

food prep step 2

  • Step 3:¬†Assemble your seasonings (I used olive oil and garlic) and whole-grain carb (lentils are my go-to, but quinoa or couscous will work too).

food prep step 3

  • Step 4:¬†Rinse off the grains, transfer them into a Teflon pot, and allow them to soak in water for approximately 10 minutes.

food prep step 4

  • Step 5:¬†Place the pot on a stove-top burner and turn the heat on high until boiling, then lower to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally.

food prep step 5

  • Step 6:¬†Add the seasonings (1 tsp. garlic and 1 tbsp. olive oil), then re-cover and let the mixture simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

food prep step 6

  • Step 7:¬†Once the lentils (or another whole-grain of choice) have softened, add the vegetables you prepped earlier and stir thoroughly.

food prep step 7

  • Step 8:¬†Allow the vegetables to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, then strain this mixture to remove any excess liquid.

food prep step 8

  • Step 9:¬†Transfer the lentils (or another whole grain of choice) into a Tupperware container and store in the fridge until your next meal.

food prep step 9

***¬†1 16-oz. package of lentils yields at least a week’s worth of lunches/dinners. ***

Believe the Hype: Juicing Is Your Brand New “Bestie”

…When it’s done right, anyway.

While I don’t necessarily advocate going on a 100% juice diet (there is¬†something¬†to be said for detoxing your system periodically…just not enough evidence yet to support this trend with science), juicing – as a nutrient-rich snack, sweet-tooth satisfier, or breakfast supplement – is a tasty way to sneak that recommended daily dose of fruits and veggies into your diet. So, blend up some wholesome deliciousness, and let’s drink to good health!

(Just be warned: juicing as a meal replacement should be cleared with your doctor beforehand).

juicing   

(image courtesy of healthyjuiceblends.com)


For a Metabolism Boost:

  • The Fruit:¬†1/2 cup strawberries (sliced)
  • The Veggies:¬†1/2 cup spinach (chopped)
  • The Protein:¬†1/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain)
  • The Liquid:¬†1 cup green tea (brewed)
  • The “Extra”:¬†1 tsp. cinnamon (ground)

For a Clear Complexion:

  • The Fruit:¬†1/2 cup watermelon (cubed)
  • The Veggies:¬†1/2 cup kale (chopped)
  • The Protein:¬†1 tbsp. walnuts (chopped)
  • The Liquid:¬†1 cup coconut water (unsweet)
  • The “Extra”:¬†1 tsp. turmeric (ground)

For a Healthy Heart:

  • The Fruit:¬†1/2 cup red grapes (sliced)
  • The Veggies:¬†1/2 cup carrots (chopped)
  • The Protein:¬†1 tbsp. peanut butter (organic)
  • The Liquid:¬†1 cup almond milk (unsweet)
  • The “Extra”:¬†1 tsp. honey (raw & organic)

For a Strong Skeleton:

  • The Fruit:¬†1/2 cup banana (sliced)
  • The Veggies:¬†1/2 cup watercress (chopped)
  • The Protein:¬†1/4 cup oats (whole grain)
  • The Liquid:¬†1 cup rice milk (unsweet)
  • The “Extra”:¬†1 tsp. ginger (ground)

For an Immunity Kick:

  • The Fruit:¬†1/2 cup apricots (sliced)
  • The Veggies:¬†1/2 cup sweet potato (mashed)
  • The Protein:¬†1/4 cup egg whites (whipped)
  • The Liquid:¬†1 cup orange juice (organic)
  • The “Extra”:¬†1 tsp. cloves (ground)

For an Energy Injection:

  • The Fruit:¬†1/2 cup avocado (sliced)
  • The Veggies:¬†1/2 cup cucumber (chopped)
  • The Protein:¬†1 tbsp. almonds (chopped)
  • The Liquid:¬†1 cup beetroot juice (strained)
  • The “Extra”:¬†1 tsp. dark chocolate (70% cacao)